I could use some help breaking a plateau. I've been doing pullups and the most I can hit is 13. I basically do as many as I can each set and rest 3-4 minutes in between. I knock out about 60 in total.
Should I increase my total?
Increase or decrease my rest?
Not go full out each time?
Any tips would be great, thanks.
i would also say mix it up, keep it interesting. Pullup to handstand is a fun one
I'm not were you are yet, but only a few weeks ago I had a plateau at 3 sets of 6-7 reps.
I'm at 9 reps now. I broke my plateau with negatives.
I do my pullups on a roof beam next to my exercise bench. So I was doing;
Set1: 9 reps 30secs-1min rest
Set2: 7 or 8 reps 30secs-1min rest
then for my 3rd set I stand on the exercise bench and grab the beam where it passes over the bench,
position myself to start at the top of the pullup, then just lift my legs off the bench, and lower myself slowly (taking about 4 secs and a couple of breaths on the way down), stand on the bench again & re-position for each rep and repeat for X number of reps. So, my 3rd sets are like;
Set3: 10 negatives
You'll be able to do more negatives than standard pullups, even after you've already done a couple of sets, so I used it as a good opportunity for what's known as a 'burnout set'. For burnout you want the reps on this final set to fall between 10-20 reps. Also, I'm a big fan of keeping my routines under 15mins, to make sure my muscles stay anabolic. So I try to keep my rests short. So, you should try something like this;
Set1: 13 reps 1min rest
Set2: 10-13 reps (depending on your endurance) 1min rest
Set3: 10-20 negatives
OR, if that gives you 20 more reps on the last set, make it 4 sets;
Set1: 13 reps 1min rest
Set2: 10-13 reps 1min rest
Set3: 10-13 reps 1min rest
Set4: 10-20 negatives
Do whatever you can to make sure you're exhausted enough on that last set to stay under 20 reps. Don't use any weights on the final set, either.
With negatives, the slower you go, the more effective they are, I try for at least 4 seconds per rep with negatives.
And with your regular sets, (for any exercise, not just pullups) it's always a good idea to make the negative portion take twice as long as the positive portion. -eg- 1 second to lift, 2 seconds to lower. (1 to 4, or 2 to 4 is even better).
For reference, my last two pullup sessions looked like this;
Jun25 - 8, 7+leg-ups, 12 negatives
Jun28 - 9, 6 (supersetted with negative Concentration Curls, with weight heavier than my 1rep-max).
Didn't bother doing a negative burnout set last time, because the curls were destroying my biceps.
I usually try to target the back muscles more than biceps, just did the biceps last week to change things up a little.
I'll get back into the pullups and post my sessions here for the next couple of weeks, and you can see any improvement I make following my own advice.
Another thing I thought of... Are you having occasional rest periods ? Out of every 8 weeks, I take one of those weeks off for some extra muscle repair.
Actually, I just took nearly 4 weeks off. From May 22 to June 17. Looking through my log, I've done more reps of everything since I came back.
Good stuff Zeta, rest is an important factor for sure but it depends on so many factors like; state of health, age, sex, diet, workout intensities etc etc. A week rest sounds like a lot to me though, i might have a week off once or twice a year (I dont like not exercising lol). I think a good weights schedule for a young person could be say roughly 40mins 3/4times a week (high intensity). Personally i do six 15-20min high intensity work-outs a week. Plus a few short runs and gymnastics. I think the muscles shouldn't ache too much the next day, only a bit if you stretch them for example. Its too easy to burn out , which makes progress much harder. Listen to your body, lots of sleep is very important to quick recovery.
My muscles actually don't usually ache the next day at all. I only ever get Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness if I don't get some fruit in soon enough after a workout.
Define 'young person'...
I don't like not exercising either. For me, that's nearly as bad as not eating or sleeping.
But, the key issue for me is time. I have 3 kids. They have to come first. Plus some other hobbies that I don't get to do as often as I'd like.
It's very, very easy for me to get caught up in a project, like constructing a vege garden, and find myself skipping a months worth of exercise.
I'm 32, still consider myself a 'young person'. My personal definition would probably take an average age of longevity for humans then divide into three for young/middle/old buts that's roughly speaking. I suppose I might still call myself young(ish) at 40 considering my lifestyle. How do you define it?
fascinating discussions, guys, with a great range of strategies.
Feel free to post up your workouts, experiments, and results in our massive fitness thread:
Sorry, I bought a new bike and I've been neglected my weight training to ride.
I did do one workout of PullUps on July 14;
8, 8+LegUps, 15 neg
That's a bit of progress. I'm up one rep on the second set and 3 negatives on the third set from the last time I did a similar set almost 3 weeks earlier.
For sure, I'll be back into the exercises by this time next week.
How about you ? Passed that 13 yet ?
No. I do have a plan however which is progress. I'm trying what's called "grease the groove" (not sure why it's called that). Basically I just do 50-80% of max periodically throughout the day. Just whenever really. Say once an hour for example. The idea is you aren't training your body to failure but instead you are teaching it that this is something that it is just going to have to get used to now. You do this 5-6 days a week.
I know a guy who never worked out but was super strong. He spent years working in construction though and we figure that was why. On a daily basis he just had to do physical tasks and his body just had to get strong enough to handle it. Same thing with GTG I guess.
Anyway I'll try this for a month and then test and see if I can beat 13. I'll let you know. What kind of bike did you get?
I do something that sounds remarkably similar to this. I call it 'Overtraining Week'.
It triggers a hormonal response in your brain that recognizes your new everyday exercise as a 'Survival requirement'. That causes some sort of prioritization of muscle building. Probably the same way people in wheelchairs get big arms & shoulders.
I actually got the idea when I was researching the effects of long term exposure to high gravity environments.
The way I do it is I just pick one particular exercise out of my weekly schedule and instead of doing it my usual once-a-week I'll do it every day for a week.
You need to start doing weighted pull-ups. Just use a strap (or even a weight lift belt) to add plates. Usually the gyms have a few belts laying around. Do your first set with bodyweight for 10 reps then 6-8 reps with weights. I was adding 150 pounds on my sets. The weight jumps pretty quickly. Start off with 25 pounds to start and work your way up. Very quickly 2-3 months body weight only will seem much easier.
Watch a few of these to get the idea how to secure weights. Just make sure the weights can never land on your foot or toes if the belt slips or snaps.
The other way is to us the cable lat pulldown machine and adjust your grip width. Do more then your body weight. Use the knee restraints so you don't lift your body into the air.
Today's usually my PullUp day anyway, and I haven't had a bike ride today, so I figured what the hell.
I just went down the shed for some PulUps.
8 with leg-ups
8 with leg-ups
I really had to push for those 20 negatives. When I say push I don't mean failure. I never go to failure with Pull-Ups, my arms start going a little weak & shaky, then I call it quits.
If I would have been happy with what felt comfortable today, I would have stopped at 19.